Environmental Toxins

It has taken just over 80 years for 70,000 industrial chemicals to be created which are now part of our environment. What is alarming however, is that most of these toxins are found in our food chain!  Together with the toxins that we breathe and which touch our skin, make up the toxin load that our liver and other organs battle to deal with every second of every day!  Let's not forget other toxins such as:

  • alcohol
  • medication
  • excess caffeine - coffee
  • smoking

It's no wonder we feel sick, have problems with sleep, have low energy, are overweight and sluggish.  Toxins are also responsible for our hormonal imbalances where the mitochondria - the energy engines which help our metabolism, in the cells are affected.

Top 10 Common Household Toxins

  1. Bisphenol A (BPA)
  2. Oxybenzone
  3. Floride 
  4. Parabens
  5. Phthalates
  6. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  7. Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
  8. Perchlorate
  9. Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DECA)
  10. Asbestos

Hormone related and degenerative diseases have increased dramatically since the 2nd World War.  As industrialization increases, so too does environmental toxins which are bye-products.

The rise in hormonal related diseases to environmental toxins such as synthetic chemicals, especially pesticides which mimic the female hormone estrogen is of great concern.  These include DDT, Dioxin and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB's).  Over 100 chemicals have now been identified as hormone disruptors, half of which resist the natural processes of decay, some persisting for decades, even centuries.  Approximately 2 billion tons of pesticides and billions of tonnes of industrial chemicals are used annually the world over.  Are you getting the picture??

Progesterone suppresses estrogen if enough is used.  Adverse symptoms associated with excess estrogen, could in some way, be alleviated by the use of progesterone.

BPA - a synthetic compound used to harden plastics, also found in epoxy resins.  A recent study showed that over 90% of North Americans have BPA in their bodies.  BPA reduces testosterone, mimics estrogen in our bodies and is linked to increased abdominal fat, low libido, cardiovascular symptoms and low immunity.  Men with low sperm counts need to test for BPA.  Sperm counts in men have declined over the past 60 years. Researchers have found that the average sperm count has dropped by 45%, from 113 million per millilitre of semen in 1940 to less and 66 million per millilitre by 2000. The volume of semen ejaculated had dropped 25%, making a total sperm count drop of 50%.  The number of men with ultra low sperm counts of about 20 million has tripled over the same period, from 6% to 18%.  Men with higher levels of BPA have lower sperm counts and quality, and increased levels of sexual dysfunction.

Doxin - is a by-product of the manufacture of chemicals using chlorine, incineration and combustion.  Dry cleaning fluid, drugs, pesticides, disinfectants and plastic are amongst them.  A frightening thought is that they are everywhere, even dairy and meat products. Dioxin exposure is also linked to cancer. Research suggests that women suffering with endometriosis also have a higher level of PCB's in their blood.  Chlorine is one of the most heavily used chemicals which is found in drinking water, household cleaners or the air if living near an industrial area that is using it.  It leads to terrible respiratory problems.

Phthalates - are plastic compounds used to add flexibility to manufactured items such as children's toys, vinyl flooring, nail polish, hair spray and slow release medications.  They are fat soluble estrogenic and anti-androgenic compounds that interfere with hormone function and cause weight gain as the liver struggles to detox the overburdened system. Phthalates cause DNA damage and deformity to sperm cells, reduce sperm and increase cancer incidence.  Smoking is bad for lung and esophageal health, but it also impacts on our reproductive health.  Cadmium is the heavy metal found in cigarettes which reduces blood flow to the testes resulting in oxidative stress and damage to the testicular cells, this in turn results in low sperm counts and increased sperm abnormalities.

Cancer - has risen alarmingly in the last 50 years.  Cambridge University's East Anglican Cancer Intelligence Unit has now predicted that by 2018 there will be a 50% chance of people getting cancer!  This has in fact already been proven in the heavily industrialised areas where environmental toxins tend to concentrate.  Mould and other fungal toxins can cause cancer too, as well as heart disease, asthma, MS and diabetes.  Major areas of concern are contaminated buildings, peanuts, wheat, corn and alcoholic beverages.  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) are mainly found in indoor air than in outdoor air because they put off gas from household products such as drinking water, carpet, paint, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, cosmetics, sunscreens, dry cleaned clothes, air fresheners etc.  These all lead to cancer, eye and respiratory problems, headaches, dizziness and memory problems.  Progesterone is protective against cancer.

Prostate Cancer - has doubled dramatically.  It is estimated that in 20 years 1 in 4 men will have it, making it a bigger problem than breast cancer.  It is now the most common cancer in American men.  The National Cancer Institute in the USA reported a 127% rise in prostate cancer from 1973 to 1991, making that a yearly increase of 3.9%.  Over 400,000 men in the USA are operated on each year for prostate problems, over 40,000 die from them.  A study in the USA discovered that male mice exposed to the natural female hormone estradiol - one of the estrogens - or to a synthetic estrogen whilst still a foetus, affected the prostate gland causing hypersensitivity to the male sex hormones for the remainder of the animal's lives.  As a result, researchers found that when the mice reached puberty they had all the symptoms of prostate disease found in men  i.e. enlargement, smaller urethras, inflammation, increased frequency of urination and cellular changes similar to cancer in humans. Yet another study found a high fat and meat diet linked to a greater increase in the disease, due to the estrogenic steroids given to livestock to fatten them up!

Testicular Cancer -  in Denmark has tripled since the 2nd World War, with rates increasing by 2-4% per year and 5% in Germany and Poland.  It is the most common cancer found in young men.  This is caused by the rapid increase in testosterone, which occurs during puberty, acting on previously damaged cells.  The occurrence of undescended testes has doubled since the 1940's and now affects 2-3% of all baby boys.  It has also been reported that there is also a 2-3% increase in abnormalities of the penis resulting in mild to severe hermaphrodite (having both male and female sex organs).

Breast Cancer - this has tripled in the last 60 years.  In 1940, 1 in 20 women ran the risk of getting breast cancer.  This has now risen to 1% per year to 1 in 8.  It is currently the leading cause of death amongst women between the ages of 40 and 45.  The number of cases reported in the USA jumped by 32% between 1980 to 1987!  It is a known fact that as long as a woman is exposed to her own natural estrogen, the greater the risk of getting breast cancer.  This risk is increased even further by taking Contraceptives and HRT.  The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology as far back as 1993 stated that not only long term, but short term users of HRT carry a 40% risk of getting breast cancer.

There is now extreme concern that estrogen mimicking chemicals are causing cancers.  Professors Carlos Sonnenschein and Ana Soto through experimenting, have proven that breast cancer cells multiply and found that nonylphenol had the same effect.  This chemical toxin is used in industrial detergents, lubricating oils, paints, plastics, toiletries and agriculture.

Cervical cancer - has been increasing at a rate of 3% per year since 1986 in women under the age of 50.  Endometrial cancer is caused by estrogen which is unopposed by progesterone or progestins as found in HRT.  Endometriosis now affects over 12 million women in the USA, 30-40% are infertile.  Before 1921 only 20 cases had been reported worldwide.  It is most common in the 25 to 40 age group.  Evidence points to a weakened immune system caused by the environmental toxin dioxin!  Estrogen is an inflammatory hormone which increases endometrial tissues, progesterone on the other hand, suppresses excess estrogen, it is also calming anti-inflammatory hormone.

PCB's - increase the risk of miscarriage by causing a reduction in progesterone by accelerating its breakdown in the liver.  PCB's were introduced in 1929 and used in the electrical industry, lubricants, plastics, paints, varnishes, inks and pesticides.  They were also banned in 1976 as they do not break down and remain in the air, soil, water, animals, birds, fish and humans.

Reproductive and behavioural problems - are on the increase worldwide.  Theo Colborn's book Our Stolen Future clearly states that hormone disruptors are altering brain development and behaviour in animals and suggests that this could be the reason why there has been an increase in learning difficulties, hyperactivity and aggressive behaviour in children.  Alarmingly, 5% of babies in the USA are exposed to sufficient quantities of PCB's in breast milk to affect their neurological development.

Anxiety and depression - is on the increase in the UK.  A rise of 210% in spending of anti-depressants during 1993 to 1998 makes this a reason of concern.  Environmental toxins are being tagged and the reason.  Over 6 million adults suffer some form of mental health problems in the UK. Research now indicates that the incidence in children is doubling every 5 years, together with that of hyperactivity.  Approximately 50 000 prescriptions were made out in 1998 for Ritalin, a leading medication prescribed for the control of hyperactivity in children.

Autoimmune diseases - are also increasing.  Mostly common in women than in men.  A lack of progesterone and environmental toxins are strongly implicated.  The late Dr John Lee who was and still is well known for his work on progesterone therapy, asked the question whether they are possibly symptoms of estrogen toxicity.  Many of his patients on progesterone therapy have found their adverse auto immune symptoms greatly improved.

The late Dr Katharina Dalton who had been practicing progesterone therapy in the UK since 1948 discovered that there should be no reason why progesterone should only be used for menstrual and pregnancy and hormonal issues as it is found in ALL vertebrates.  It is vital for both men and women and plays a vital role in protecting us against the effects of the environment.   Progesterone is a potent anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic and antioxidant.

The book 'Progesterone in Orthomolecular Medicine' written byDr Ray Peat mentions some adverse effects estrogen can have on the body:

  • Salt and water retention
  • Increases body and blood fat, blood clotting, embolisms
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Opposes actions of thyroxine
  • Causes copper retention and zinc loss
  • Promotes development of fibroids, histamine release
  • Promotes gallbladder disease
  • Accelerates aging of collagen (connective tissue)
  • Increases risk of endometrial cancer and endometriosis
  • Increases risk of fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer
  • Restrains osteoclast function
  • Decreases libido
  • Reduces oxygen levels in all cells

Progesterone opposes all of these, but more importantly, it counters stress - see here and here.

It is vital that we limit our exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible by eating organically.  Avoid processed foods and chemicals in our personal environment.  There are so many healthy alternatives found at health stores.  

There is no getting away with it, we are ALL toxic, even I am.  It is virtually impossible to avoid not becoming toxic, but we can make a difference by avoiding as many of the above mentioned as possible!!


How Agricultural Chemicals and Hospital Stays Contribute to Alzheimer's


Combinations of Physiologic Estrogens with Xenoestrogens Alter ERK Phosphorylation Profiles in Rat Pituitary Cells

Reuters Science Watch - August 2009

Yale Scientists Discover How Exposure to BPA Causes Infertility


The Role of Parental and Grandparental Epigenetic Alterations in Familial Cancer Risk

Testicular Cancer trends as 'Whistle Blowers' of Testicular Developmental Problems in Populations


The Potential Role of Environmental Toxins in the Pathophysiology of Endometriosis

PCB's and PFC's

Obesity's helper in triggering diabetes


Widely used Pesticides with previously unknown Endocrine Activity revealed as in Vitro Antiandrogens


Natural and Anthropogenic Environmental Estrogens: the Scientific Basis for Risk Assessment

The Falling Age of Puberty

Investigation of Relationships between Urinary Biomarkers of Phyoestrogens, Phthalates and Phenols and Pubertal Stages in Girls

Falling Age of Puberty in US Girls

Premature Sexual Development in Children Following the use of Estrogen or Placenta Containing Hair Products


How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMO's, Pesticides or Chemicals


Endocrine Disruptors in the Workplace, Hair spray, Folate Supplementation and Risk of Hypospadias: Case-Control Study

Semen quality of fertile US males in relation to their mothers' beef consumption during pregnancy 

Synthetic Estrogen

Study shows why Synthetic Estrogens wreak havoc on the Reproductive System


Environmental Health Perspectives - May 2010